Ah, high school. Those were indeed the days. Whether you were a Collegiate “lifer” or simply attended for four years of high school like me, you still hold on to many memories, inside jokes and generally great qualities from the Collegiate School in Richmond that will likely be ingrained in your memory forever. Here are some signs that you are in fact a Collegiate Cougar.
1. You know your way around the Cougar Shop
Also known as the promised land, the Cougar Shop has all things Cougar for sale, and lots of things non-Cougar. Best part: you can charge it and your parents won’t find out until they get the monthly statement. From green and gold striped dress ties for the fellas to green Snuggies with a cougar paw logo for the tailgate party, to collapsible dog bowls (for your dog at the tailgate party), and even green and gold corn hole sets, this shop has a little something for everyone. Cougar Shop = last minute gift gold.
2. You have an extensive green and gold wardrobe
And you think green and gold look good together. With help from the Cougar Shop of course! Whether it was a spirit day, pep rally, convocation, or a football game, the Collegiate campus is regularly flooded with a sea of green and gold worn by students, teachers and parents. The color of hope and the color of money – you need both to afford your Cougar shop swag.
3. The Academic Commons
In 2015, my senior year, the Collegiate school was forever changed with the opening of the Academic Commons. This amazing addition was created to enhance learning, teaching and studying, as well as provide a space for upper school students to gather, grab a snack between classes, and relax on the comfy furniture — but only if you were a senior of course. Did I mention the Starbucks shop? Yes, that is there as well.
4. You appreciate some Garden of Eden landscaping
From the over the top trees, flowers, a manicured lawn and hedges, Collegiate rivals the finest parks in the world when it comes to landscaping. And it is all thanks to landscaper and gardener extraordinaire, Robyn, and her team of dedicated workers. Perennials, annuals, boxwoods, hostas, rock gardens, trailing vines, it’s all there. In fact, the yearly plant sale at the Village Green fair is a key part of Cougar parent fundraising and teaches Cougars early and often about the importance of a little greenery in your world.
5. You Love Claud
There was never a day that you didn’t see Claud Whitley, Collegiate’s security guard, mailman and general ombudsman, biking around campus making the K-12 school run smoothly from day to day, month to month and year to year. He is one of Collegiate’s longest working colleagues and, in my mind, the very essence of all that is unique and wonderful about Collegiate.
6. Saints vs. Cougars
You talk about the Saints a lot, and not the ones in Heaven. If you went to Collegiate you know a thing or two about this big rivalry and when game days would roll around—be it football, basketball, tennis or indoor soccer—the stands were sure to be packed and radiating with green and gold on one side and red and white on the other.
7. Senior Lot
Where are you going to park your new whip? Or your mom’s old station wagon? The Senior Lot of course and the name says it all. One of the senior privileges was to park in the lot closer to campus and there was sure to be some friction if a junior dared to park in one of the spaces to avoid those extra steps to class. Though the actual distance wasn’t great, the emotional distance was huge: Hey, it’s called the Senior Lot for a reason people.
8. If you go to UVA you know A LOT of people
Like all state universities, UVA pulls a lot of students from cities around the state. Cougars go to colleges all over the USA and the world, but there are certainly more than a few Wahoo Cougars as well. It’s both a blessing and a curse to realize your ex-boyfriend is going to be sitting next to you in Psych 101. And if you’ve ever had an ex-boyfriend, you know what I mean.
9. Brunch isn’t always about food, and requires a lot of writing on cars
We call it Brunch and it has nothing to do with Eggs Benedict. Brunch is a play and long-standing Collegiate tradition put on by the entire junior class of girls for the senior girls each year. The play comprises skits, funny things that happened throughout the year and a song at the end that the junior girls write.
10. You know Feast of Juul is pronounced “yule”
Feast of Juul, an over 30 year tradition, starts with dinner in the Collegiate cafeteria which entails friendly roasts of teachers done by the senior boys, speeches, music and reflections on the time they have spent as Collegiate Cougars. After the dinner, they have various activities throughout the night (one of which is a sneak peek of the Brunch play) and then they all sleep overnight at Collegiate and go to Denny’s the following morning.
11. You know the Hail Collegiate song
Hail Collegiate, We Thy Children… Obviously, if you went to Collegiate you know the song, but my point is that you know how to sing the song. Which is to say you get super hype when the “Haec sunt mea ornamenta” part rolls around and you get to raise your fist in the air and emphasize the “Haec”!
12. You know Collegiate is family
When a faculty member was diagnosed with breast cancer, Collegiate organized numerous fundraisers and had the biggest Race for the Cure Team and raised the most money. When tragedy strikes a Cougar family, the school rallies everyone and does everything it can to help. Collegiate has a tradition where a senior is assigned a kindergartener to mentor and buddy with for that last/first year of school for each of them. The school years starts with them crossing the stage together and it ends with the last assembly and the senior saying goodbye to Collegiate and watching their little kindergartener move up to first grade.
You know you’re a Cougar when you never really say goodbye to the school, just so long for now.